A landscape comes alive through language
Our concept delved deep into the vernacular of Kent to create a powerful connection between a new community and their landscape.
We created an inspiring new identity for Ebbsfleet Garden City by drawing on the rich local language describing the Kent countryside – best known as the ‘Garden of England’.
Our entry for this international competition wasn’t a masterplan or a design, but the New Landscape Guide to Ebbsfleet – a glossary of unique local terms for features of the natural landscape. Our concept took historic inspiration from the iconic Shell Guides, famously edited by John Betjeman, which took city dwellers on a cultural tour of beauty, quirks and oddities of the British landscape.
Entries in our guide ran from a Fleet (a creek or inlet) to the Deek (a dyke or ditch) through to Boblight (Twilight) and not forgetting the Yaffle – or green woodpecker. We dug out plant names that couldn’t fail to charm - from the Weasel Snout (Linaria vulgaris)to the extraordinary nickname for Arum maculatum ‘Kitty-Come-Down-The-Lane-Jump-Up-And-Kiss-Me’.
Through language, we sought to connect new and existing residents to their landscape, encouraging a deeper appreciation of the open spaces in and around the new Garden City. Greater engagement and ownership underpins healthier lifestyles and enriches wellbeing.
The judges were certainly convinced, with our entry ‘Highly Commended’ in recognition of its creativity and the great potential to create a strong sense of civic pride and joy in the local landscape.
“By listening carefully to a landscape’s story, we can connect people not just to nature, but to their culture and heritage”